P’Tit Louis Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico

P’Tit Louis on Silver Avenue

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man,
then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you,
for Paris is a moveable feast.”
Ernest Hemingway

I’ve often wondered if Ernest Hemingway would have felt at home in Taos during the “roaring twenties,” a period of dynamic artistic, societal and lifestyle upheaval. Instead of communing with the Taos Society of Artists and other inspired Bohemian minds, Hemingway spent much of the decade in Paris, a city whose own liberal attitudes attracted poets, painters and writers from throughout the world. Paris was a vibrant city which drew many expats from the so-called “lost generation” of cynical young people disillusioned with the materialism and individualism prevalent in society at the time.

Paris was not only a relatively inexpensive city in which to live, unlike America it did not have a prohibition against alcohol. The American expatriates–F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein among them–would gather at cafes to discuss their work and drink until their money ran out. Much of Hemingway’s most productive writing, in fact, took place in cafes which he visited with his characteristic blue notebooks, pencils and a pocket knife with which to sharpen them.

The dining room
The dining room

Hemingway was spellbound by the allure and sophistication of Parisian life, so utterly cosmopolitan and unlike the sedate and predictable conservative life of his youth in rural Illinois. Nightlife included visits to the Champs Elysee where Josephine Baker and a troupe of exotic nude dancers captivated the city. Long nights of drinking, concerts, dancing and stimulating conversation defined Hemingway’s madcap nightlife and that of his cafe society associates.

Aspects of Hemingway’s Paris can be found in Albuquerque’s P’Tit Louis Bistro which is fashioned like a Paris bistro of the early twentieth century. If you don’t look out the windows onto Silver Avenue, you might actually feel as if you’ve been transported to Paris of a bygone era, the era of Ernest Hemingway and the lost generation. P’Tit Louis is a special place frequented not by a lost generation, but by guests who don’t look as though they patronize the chains embraced by conventional society. It’s a place in which intellectual discourse can be overheard among diners who have likely traveled abroad and read Moveable Feast.

Moules Roquefort with Pommes Frites

The painstakingly thorough attention taken by  founding owners Christoph Decarpentiers and John Phinzyto re-create the art deco ambiance of a turn-of-the-century Parisian bistro left no detail untouched. Hardwood floors and furnishings with masculine black accents both bespeak of period authenticity and precise craftsmanship which is also apparent in the artisan construction of the hand-crafted art nouveau bar and other decorous touches.  In 2015, Christoph sold P’Tit Louis to entrepreneur Dave Montoya who’s retained most of the touches that have P’Tit Louis an extraordinary French experience worthy of Hemingway himself.

The interior is cozy with fewer than a dozen tiny tables in personal space proximity to one another. The tables are obviously intended for dishes to be delivered in sequence, not for several dishes to be delivered at one time. Each table is adorned with linen tablecloths and napkins. A soundtrack featuring the soothing stylings of Edith Piaf and other French singers of decades past lend to a dining experience in which time seems to have stopped nearly a century ago.

Escargots De Bourgogne: 1⁄2 dozen escargots in garlic butter

The menu may inspire lascivious salivation. As in many French bistros, two menus are delivered to your table (if you’re thinking one is a wine menu, you’d be wrong). A small paper menu lists a nice selection of cheeses for the fromage fanatics among us. Proper etiquette is to enjoy cheeses after your main course and before or as a substitute for dessert. Cheeses are intended for nibbling as you enjoy conversation with your dining companions, hence it’s a digestive aide of sorts. Certainly your conversation will include a discourse of appreciation for the cheeses themselves, an international array from France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Denmark, England and the United States.

The larger laminated lunch and dinner showcase traditional French bistro fare. Compared to the compendium-sized menus at some restaurants, P’Tit Louis’s menu is petite–fittingly in consideration of the tiny tables. Both the lunch and dinner menus offer hors d’oeuvre, hot or cold appetizers, as well as plats (or plates).  A seven item les moules (mussels) menu bespeaks of the French love for delicious bivalve mollusks.   East Coast Blue Point oysters are available on the menu every Thursday and Friday.

Wonderful French bread with butter

Les Moules (mussels) are a specialty of the house with several versions featured daily along with a daily mussels creation. Once considered food for the poor, mussels have become earned reverential respect in the hands of French chefs. At the Bistro moules du jour include Moules Marinieres (steamed with white wine and shallots), Moules Roquefort (steamed with Roquefort sauce), Moules Piquantes (white wine, chili peppers, jalapeño) and Moules Saffron (saffron cream sauce).

As you contemplate the menu, one of the nattily attired wait staff will ferry over to your table plate of French bread (no doubt sliced from a baguette, an unofficial symbol of France). It will be the first of several slices you’ll either slather on the unctuous French butter or will use to dredge up some of the incredible sauces you’ll enjoy (a French tradition). With a hard-crusted exterior and a not quite pillowy soft interior, it’s a delicious bread.

Coq Au Vin

Most Recent Visit: 13 July 2019 

Francophiles are very quick to ascribe most culinary innovations to the French. Indeed, while French chefs may have introduced the world to many revolutionary techniques and standards, they didn’t invent brunch. In fact, until rather recently, brunch was a relatively unknown concept in France. That’s no longer the case. Going out for brunch is quite trendy nowadays. Sitting on the small patio in front of L’Ptit Louis may remind you of dining at a French sidewalk cafe for a great brunch. To experience this sidewalk cafe look-and-feel, visit during a weekend when the brunch menu is one of the very best in town. A three course menu starts as low as twenty-dollars, more if you want champagne or a mimosa

The prix fixe weekend brunch menu is a three-course extravaganza in which diners select one from each of three sections of the menu: hors d’oevres, les entrees and les desserts.  My Kim chided me when I compared it to the “one from column A, one from column B” menus at Chinese restaurants of yore.  For one thing, the menu isn’t organized in columns.  For another, no matter how sublime we may find Chinese restaurants, none offer the outdoor patio experience we cherish.  L’Ptit Louis is Paris in Albuquerque!

Frit Huîtres Crêpe

In our eight years of hot-and-humid living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we must have consumed a boatload of oyster po’ boys–thick French baguettes nestling cornmeal-battered oysters, lettuce, tomatoes and a smear or three of remoulade.  Much as we enjoyed this traditional Louisiana sandwich favorite, we had to admit the bread may have been a bit heavy for the uniquely delicious, but delicate flavor of the oysters.  Sandwich construction demands a bread to meat or seafood to condiment balance that showcases the named ingredient, in this case, the oyster.

P’Tit Louis’ seasonally available Frit Huîtres Crêpe (tempura fried oyster crêpe, bacon, mixed greens, Hollandaise sauce) gave me that long-sought balance.  The light, delicate crepe proved a worthy sheath for the crispy yet tender and finespun oyster.  Much like the remoulade we enjoyed on the Gulf Coast, the Hollandaise served a complementary role with its balance of buttery, cayenne and lemon-infused flavors.  The only advantage we’d concede to an oyster po’ boy from Domilises in New Orleans is that a po’ boy will fill you up while the Frit Huîtres Crêpe will only whet your appetite for more.

Le Pâté Maison

For my Kim, the item on the hors d’oevres menu most appealing was the La Pâté Maison (house pâté served with cornichons).  Much like caviar, pâté seems to be a dish associated with wealth.  That holds true especially for gourmet duck or goose pâté which can indeed be very pricey.  Pâté is simply a mixture of seasoned ground seafood, poultry, meat, or vegetables, and often a combination of several different base ingredients. It need not be expensive or “uppity.”  In fact, translate the very same pâté into the German liverwurst and you’d probably think it’s a pretty pedestrian (as in common, certainly not flavor).

There’s another school of thought about pâté, one that’s echoed in a quote from novelist Kingsley Amis who lamented, “I sometimes feel that more lousy dishes are presented under the banner of pâté than any other.” That certainly hasn’t been our experience in Albuquerque’s French restaurants, all of which take great pride in the pâté they serve. P’Tit Louis offers some of the best pâté in the city, a perfect pairing for the crusty French bread. As for cornichons, what can be said about maybe the best little pickles in creation?

Le Steak Maitre D ́Hotel

In an episode of Hogan’s Heroes, the French prisoner-of-war and accomplished chef LeBeau offered to prepare a steak for Schultz, the German guard.  When Schultz indicated he wanted his steak “well done,” LeBeau’s retort was “you sure know how to hurt a chef.”  No French chef would ever transform a beautiful slab of beef into coal.  For French chefs, the optimum degree of doneness for any steak is medium rare, officially defined as steak cooked to an internal temperature of 135 degrees.  That’s precisely how my Le Steak Maitre D ́Hotel arrived at our table.

More precisely, I asked our server to have the chef prepare it the way he sees fit.  It certainly affirmed my faith in chefdom that six-ounce New York strip was done to my exacting desires.  As The Spruce Eats confirms “medium rare steaks “give you the maximum amount of tenderness and juiciness while ensuring that the center of the steak is warm. The interior of a medium-rare steak will be mostly pink with just a tiny bit of red in the center, and the interior temperature is between 130 F and 140 F.”  The steak was seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic and topped with a delicious dollop of herb butter which melted magnificently onto the steak.

Moules Marinières

My Kim’s choice was the Moules Marinières (mussels steamed in white wine & shallots) which were quite good though they fell short compared to other mussels offerings on the menu.  That’s no indictment on the Moules Marinières, but rather an endorsement of just how superb the Moules Roquefort (mussels steamed in a blue cheese sauce) and Moules Piquantes (mussels prepared in Cayenne) are.  As always, the mussels were exemplars of deliciousness, but the broth could have used a bit more white wine and shallots)

The Les Deserts menu lists only four items: Cherry Clafoutis , Creme Brulee, Chocolate Mousse, and Lemon Tartlet.  That means we had exactly half of them during our brunch soiree.  It also means we have two other dessert options remaining to try during future visits.

Lemon Tartlet

Throughout the Deep South, little pies are a staple.  Much like a personal pan pizza, they’re meant to sate one diner, not be sliced and portioned.  P’Tit’s  Lemon Tartlet reminded me how much we enjoyed little pies (particularly pecan) when we lived in Mississippi.  The lemon tartlet evokes a pleasant pucker effect, not a full lip-pursing.  It’s got a nice balance of tartness and sweetness with sliced strawberries lending a surprising dimension.  This is a perfect summer dessert, not too heavy or too sweet.

It may indicative of the perception that French cuisine is somewhat haughty that a dessert as sublime and delicious as cherry clafoutis is often considered “peasant food” in France.  Okay, so it’s not as sophisticated as other French desserts, but to dismiss it as peasant food is almost insulting (although some of the best foods in the world–barbecue, Cajun and even New Mexican–are also referred to as peasant foods).  Clafoutis derives from the word clafir, which means “to fill.” Its preparation, involves lining a dish with cherries and then “filling it up” with a batter mixture.  Texturally, it’s reminiscent of American bread puddings.  It’s just as delicious, too.

Cherry Clafoutis

Previous Visits

30 April 2011: The bread is perfect for dredging up the broth in which the Moules Curry (a special of the day) is served. The curry is a perfect foil for the delicate, slightly briny flavor of the succulent shellfish. The curry broth, saffron in color and mild in flavor, is ameliorated with minced garlic. It would make an excellent soup on its own. 28 December 2011: Perhaps even better than the moules curry is the moules Roquefort, a dish so outstanding that the venturous diner about town Jim Millington orders it every time he visits. It’s easy to see why. This traditional coalescence of land and sea flavors showcases the pungent blue cheese flavor of the “king of cheeses,” rendered just slightly less sharp with fresh cream and a mill of pepper. If you’ve never had a palatable cheese soup, you’ve never had the moules Roquefort broth tinged with the briny deliciousness of fresh mussels. It’ll hook you.

30 April 2011: On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the Bistro offers fresh oysters on the half-shell if you’re inclined to luxuriate further in hard-shelled seafood. If you’re more inclined toward hard-shelled land delicacies, you’ll love P’Tit Louis’ escargots de Bourgogne, a half-dozen escargots in garlic butter. Unlike so many escargots, these are not extricated from their shells and deposited in small cups filled mostly with bread crumbs and minced garlic. You’ll have to work for these delicious beauties. Fortunately you’re given the implements with which to accomplish this deft feat–a full-sized fork in which the exterior tongs have been bent back and a tool that looks like a surgical implement, but is used to hold the escargots while you extract the buttery, garlicky delicacies. It’s worth the effort and more.

Betteraves & Chevre (roasted beet and goat cheese) salad

7 September 2013: Escargots and oysters constitute two of the “exotic” foods some people won’t even try. Rather than bemoan that parochial attitude, we should celebrate that unacculturated diners don’t try them because that leaves more for those of us who love them so much. My introduction to oysters, both fried and raw, took place in Boston more than half my lifetime ago. It was love at first bite. That love was rekindled by an oyster po’ boy at P’Tit Louis, a po’ boy constructed with oysters from the cold North Atlantic waters near Boston. Unlike some of the overstuffed oyster po’ boys we ate by the boatload in New Orleans, you could count the oysters on this po’ boy in just over one hand. The oysters are perfectly prepared, a light breading sheathing the unique “ocean” flavor of each golden mollusks. The baguette was lightly toasted with an airy texture. A creamy dressing lent moistness.

30 April 2011: During our inaugural visit, we lucked upon the ragout du jour being Coq Au Vin, the classic French stew whose origin (claimants to its invention include Julius Caesar’s chef) is in delicious dispute. Featuring a single chicken leg cooked in red wine with onions, carrots and celery atop a generous mound of mashed potatoes, this is a version perhaps improvable only with pearl onions instead of sliced onions. Otherwise, this is a very enjoyable dish. The chicken falls off the bone into a wine blessed broth that’s perfect for sopping up with that terrific bread. The wine broth also serves as an excellent “gravy” for the mashed potatoes, made with real potatoes.

Bone-in pork chop topped with a sauce of cornichons, spicy tomatoes and more

17 December 2011: The tasty temptress offered during our second visit was a bone-in pork chop topped with a sumptuous sauce showcasing spicy tomatoes and cornichons, essentially two acidic flavors which coexist beautifully together against a backdrop of America’s other white meat. The pork chop, a half-inch of tender porcine perfection plays the foil against the crunchy tartness of the cornichons and especially the sharpness of the mound of chopped, spicy tomatoes. It’s an interesting sauce, not one I could find among the 103 basic French sauces, but one now on my radar.

It wasn’t so much the haute cuisine of France’s grand, elegant restaurants which won my heart during frequent visits to France in the 1990s, but the more simple family fare–bread, cheeses and meats. In France, as in much of Europe, the ancient culinary art of charcuterie is still highly revered and well-practiced. Charcuterie refers to the products made and sold in a delicatessen-style shop, also called a charcuterie. The operative word here is “made” as in butchering, cutting, salting, curing, slicing, storing and preparing such meat products such as bacon, sausage, ham, pates, and more. As Bon Apetit Magazine has discovered, the charcuterie practice is alive and well in America, too.

Oyster Po' Boy
Oyster Po’ Boy

17 December 2011: In the spirit of the Charcuterie, P’tit Louis offers L’Assiette de Charcutaille, a beautiful plating of cornichons, country pate, rosemary-encrusted ham, sopressata, garlic sausage and Spanish chorizo served with as much bread as you desire if you want to construct a sandwich or four. As good as the bread is, my preference is to enjoy each meat unadorned, using a cornichon as a palate-cleanser. The cornichons are delightful little French baby “pickles,” with a zesty, tangy snap. Each of the meats offered is deliciously different from the other, offering a nice balance of salty, spicy, sweet and piquant flavors.

30 April 2011: Landlocked Albuquerque, stereotyped as being too far from the verdant paradises which produce sheer freshness in their fecund fields, has a surprising number of restaurants showcasing salads constructed of high-quality, fresh ingredients. Add P’Tit Louis to the list if the Betteraves & Chevre (roasted beet and goat cheese) salad is any indication. A very understated sherry vinaigrette means the ingredients have to shine and shine they do. The greens are crisp and firm with a just-picked freshness. The roasted beets are sweet with just a hint of tanginess and the roasting lends a depth of flavor, particularly in accentuating the beets’ natural sweetness. The goat cheese is as soft as cream cheese and is impregnated with a sweet, mild pungency. it’s a delicious chevre.

L’ Assiette de Charcutaille: cold cuts & country paté

7 September 2013: At many French bistros steak frites is a standard menu offering, often the most popular entree. The “steak” part of that term is pretty ambiguous because each chef at each bistro determines how to prepare it. P’Tit Louis’ rendition is bold and flavorful, prepared in the au poivre (a literal translation would be “pepper steak”) style. Peppercorns give this steak a very lively “peppery” flavor without taking away from the deliciousness of the high-quality boneless cut of beef. A wine gravy lends a rich quality. Prepared at medium-rare, it’s one of the best steaks we’ve had at a French restaurant in New Mexico. The frites (French fries) are double-fried and virtually greaseless, so good that to add ketchup would be a desecration.

30 April 2011: When my sweet-toothed Kim joined me in England in 1985, it surprised her to learn that French gateaus and desserts weren’t nearly as cloying as cakes and desserts in America. It’s something I liked from the start, but it took her time to get used to desserts that weren’t tooth-decaying sweet. The Bistro’s desserts remind me very much of the desserts in France, an expression of natural flavors, not sugared ameliorants. The Creme de Caramel reminded me of a Mexican flan, but far less sweet. Better even is the chocolate pot de creme, a ramekin of semi-sweet adult chocolate. It’s the antithesis of the American version which tastes more like chocolate frosting.

Steak Frites
Steak Frites

17 December 2011: In the spirit of fairness and balance (please, no comments about Fox News), there is one item on the menu which not only didn’t win me over, but left me flummoxed. Found faulty was the tarte aux citron, a lemon tart with nary the zest and tartness of lemon. The only lip-pursing effect it had was in leaving our bottom lips downturned with disappointment. In addition to lacking any hint of tartness, it had the texture of a corn-starchy out-of-the-box mix. Jim Millington, who suggested a rating of “32” would be appropriate will hopefully forgive my assessment of “24” which still places this charming restaurant among the elite in New Mexico.

Ernest Hemingway would have liked hanging out at P’Tit Louis Bistro with his literary colleagues. You’ll like being transported to Hemingway’s time for a very good meal in a sophisticated bistro worthy of many visits.

P’Tit Louis Bistro
3218 Silver Avenue, S.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 314-1111
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 7 September 2013
1st VISIT: 30 April 2011
# OF VISITS: 3
RATING: 24
COST: $$ – $$$
BEST BET: Les Moules with Curry, Les Moules Roquefort, Les Moules Saffron, Escargots de Bourgogne, Coq Au Vin with Aligot, Betteraves & Chevre, L’ Assiette de Charcutaille, Steak Frites, Oyster Po’ Boy, Chocolait Pot de Creme, Creme de Caramel

P'tit Louis Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

About Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, nearly 1 million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on nearly 1,100 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

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18 Comments on “P’Tit Louis Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico”

  1. Aha! I wondered in my earlier review if French String beans might be replacing asparagus spears. In Gil’s most recent visit, his pic of Le Steak Maitre D ́Hotel, seems to show green beans are the thing as I recently noted in a review at Feel Good.
    As such, I’d like to ask future commentators to note if green beans are their experience as the new “in” thing to. (Alas, while the “beans” of the catalpa tree look similar, they are not noted as edible?)

    1. BOTVOLR, have you ever had the fried green beans at Oak Tree Cafe (see Gil’s review) on Alameda? I usually get them along with the black and tan onion rings.

      1. A Penny? Whoa…way over in Petit Louis! I’m sooo sorry! My brain is sooo blocking on a Penny herein! Nevertheless, fun reading your query and reminder about OT!!! I haven’t been in, OMG, who knows number of years to Oak Tree!!! Be that as it may and as Fish n Chips was my delight before, might Y’all share your FAV that ya delight in having Black and Tan onion rings with and anything else about batter of Fried Green Beans as I’ve only had them while naked elsewhere (the beans; not me!) Alas, to show my complete and unabashed naivete, will you or anyone share the nuance between the green bean and, what I’m most familiar with, the can of French Style Green beans which I think are less tough, i.e. crunchy, than the noncanned ones being “plated” nowadays. If truth be told, my preference is for the canned Yellow “Wax” Beans and French Style (string) beans. RE the former: drained and warmed while sauteing crushed Saltines in butter…betcha few, if any, have had or favor those as I’ve never seen them offered in a local restaurant….cheap, minuscule prep time, and yummy!

  2. Despite trepidations about parking, found one just about in front as did my daughter across the street. Indeed, a quaint setting (inside and out)…and lo, it even has “French Doors” leading out to a dining patio, which I could imagine t’would, if opened in the summer, give a complete Parisian like aire to the setting.
    Indeed IMHO, the coziness of the proximity of the tables, would seem to lend another a tint to a convivial, Hemingwayish atmosphere alluded to by Gil, albeit ‘we all’ were a rather staid group last eve. All in all, I was nevertheless reminded of reading let alone seeing http://tinyurl.com/mtgdfa6 …Oh, but I digress.
    My G-son noted his satisfaction with the breast of duck. My Daughter went lite with the Endive Salad au Roquefort, of which she noted the latter being quite plentiful, and French Onion, of which I purloined a couple of tasteful spoonfuls. I chose the simple filet with delicious au gratin and spears…were it French string beans (with slivers of almonds) as the veg of the day which spears have come to replace? Where are, what must be massive, repurposed fields for asparagus-growing to fill the national restaurant need? For dessert, we shared a board of wedges of Brie, Asiago, and Gruyere which I’ve listed in my sense of ascending boldness of taste/flavor per not otherwise being a cheesy aficionado. Admittedly, a nice change of pace if I were to even have dessert…with the exception of course of a SemiFreddo being offered.
    Bottom line: Tres bien!

  3. I understand that Christoph has sold this outstanding restaurant to one David Montoya. From the reviews on Yelp some think it has gotten better and others think the opposite. I myself cannot even imagine how it could have improved but I will have to give it a try.

  4. Passing on what I consider bad news. You will have to go to the Nob Hill location to dine at P’Tit Louis Bistro. Christophe has apparently been hired to run the new downtown and Claus and Hjortkjaer has left La Provence to reopen Le Cafe Miche at the Gold Street location.

  5. I tried out this place for the first time with my friend last week. This is an outstanding restaurant. We both had the special spicy seafood stew of the day and sampled some cheeses. All fantastic. Great service as well. If you don’t like this restaurant, I simple wouldn’t want to know you.

  6. Re: Michael’s comment—Christophe and John have not been partners with Mr. Paternoster since spring of 2011 when they became partners with restaurateur Tom White of Two Fools and Il Vicino.

  7. Last Friday for dinner we went by the Nob Hill location for the first time. Being stuck in a time warp I once again ordered the Moules Roquefort but took your advice and added the Betteraves & Chevre. Child bride switched to salmon. The roquefort didn’t seem quite as wonderful as downtown had in the past merely wonderful. The Betteraves & Chevre convinced me that my original rating was too low-I switched to a 34.

  8. Gil, good to see that you finally got to enjoy a meal at P’Tit Louis, my favorite restaurant in New Mexico, but I must say that I’m with Jim Millington. I’ve heard you speak much more highly of much worse restaurants. P’Tit Louis rules!

    Everything I’ve ever had here has been fantastic (not an exageration), and was as good as all and better than most bistros I’ve been to in Paris. In fact, Christoph teases me about the foie gras, asking if it’s better than Tom Keller’s (i.e., The French Laundry). He is justifiably proud. I like Christoph’s foie gras better!

  9. I read all the comments and the review written above. The place sounds amazing but it also sounds like you have to get a little lucky when you do dine there in that the staff and the kitchen needs to be on their game for you to get their 5 star food and 5 star service. I’m going to go there and dine just to experience a little bit of France and Paris. My grandmother was from Caribou, Maine. She moved to Colorado in 1898 at 2 years old. She and her family spoke no English. She lived until 1978 to the age of 80. She could still speak French when I was little. She made home made pastas and was an amazing cook. I can still remember the smells from her kitchen and having to watch the Lawrence Welk show on Saturday night. There was no way around it.

    Bon apatite ! !

  10. My wife and I happened upon P’tit Louis Bistro while looking for a meal before a concert downtown.
    We braved the Bistro even though the A/C had crapped out.
    What a pleasant surprise!
    I’m usually leery of restaurants where the pepper mill is more than 2% of the total interior space.
    In the case of P’tit Louis it was unfounded.
    The food, service and general ambiance were of a very professional level.
    The bread was terrific.
    I started with a duck confit, fois gras shavings and arugula salad that was both very filling and very, very tasty..
    Every time I had a bit of the fois gras shavings it was a culinary revelation.
    I order a charcuterie platter with both meats and a country pate.
    I love good pate and was a bit dismayed when none appeared on my plate.
    The server explained that they were out of pate and substituted another meat in its place.
    Thank goodness the platter was good or I would have been upset that I hadn’t been told in advance.
    This was not the first time a substitution was made to my dinner requests.
    Flying Star has done it to me a couple of times.
    I’m used to better communication between server and servee.
    That aside I would definitely go back and explore the mussels among other items.
    Jim Millington’s rave of the Meules Roquefort is enough to get me down there again

  11. We were also there this past weekend at the same time as Barbara. I was a little perturbed at being seated a little late after people who had come by for twenty minute seating, left and come back after we arrived, but finally realized that Chris had checked us off the list and left for construction duties at the new place. John didn’t recognize us and thought we had just arrived. Our food, unlike Barbara’s arrived fairly fast. We were probably among those who arrived after her and were served earlier.
    What amazed me, having just returned from Paris, is that our food was much better than Paris in addition to being 1/3 of the price. The price difference was expected but not the quality. I also probably got you in trouble with Barbara as I recognized her. When she inquired as to how I knew who she was, I said I had seen her picture on your blog. Later I realized that this was an accidental bold-faced lie. I had seen her photo on some site which was some sort of Asian Food club. I decided not to join because my porkulence (yes-it is not a real word) doesn’t need to be encouraged to eat even more. A couple of days later when even my aged short term memory was still active I saw her name on your review of Budai. I apologize to both of you for this transgression.

  12. Although our meal was delicious, it was obvious during our visit last week that with the construction of the second location well underway and the chef there to supervise, the kitchen staff was not up to the task of effectively delivering in a timely manner. Waiting 15 extra minutes outside for our table was fine, I don’t expect the staff to rush diners, but when we were seated we waited an agonizingly long 50 minutes for our food….a salad, a sandwich and 2 orders of mussles. Tables that were seated after us ate first, another table seemed to wait as long as we did and no explanation was offered by the staff…just endless rounds made with more bread.

  13. Hello Gil,

    Just wanted to ad this restaurant has a 3 powerhouse partner that not many know about. Steve Paternoster is the 3 power behind this project. Steve is most know for long time restaurant Scalo and the other Nob Hill favorite Brassierie La Provance where Cristoph worked as a manager for Steve previously. Steve Paternoster has also signed up for ownership of 3 Eistein Bagel franchise locations. http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/print-edition/2011/02/04/Einsteins-franchisees-bagel-expansion-nm.html

    M

  14. I am the guy in the blue shirt in the middle, and Elsie RedBird is partly hidden by the head of the women in the foreground. We were so preoccupied in talk that we didn’t notice. Nice surprise. Divine lunch. We are becoming regulars.

  15. I seem to go from periods when I am very critical of your favorite places to periods when I think you are insufficiently lavish in your praise. These past couple of weeks have been in the latter phase and P’Tit Louis Bistro is my favorite restaurant in all of New Mexico. The Moules Roquefort is so good that I break all my normal rules and order this virtually every visit. I can’t believe I do this but will soon revert to my normal habit of ordering something different every time. The Child Bride always orders the Croque Monsieur but this is the pattern she follows everywhere-she ordered it once and didn’t die-so it must be repeated forever. Most places start cooking her food as soon as they see our Mini pull up. When you get around to a numerical rating give this place a 32.

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